2019 New Year’s Blitz: A Fun Tournament to End Another Decade of Chess at ICA!
It has been an exciting decade here at ICA. We have moved locations, gained record enrollment, and started new traditions that we hope will persist for many years. We ended the twenty-teens with one of these new traditions, the New Year’s Eve blitz tournament.
The Open Section was a tough round robin tournament that included a grandmaster, a master, and three experts in a ten-person section. In a four hundred point upset, Roman Malyshev defeated GM and ICA coach Alex Stripunskiy in round 5. Only our young expert Gary Leschinsky was able to hold Roman to a draw in the last round, leaving Roman with 8.5 out of 9 and the $150 first prize. GM Stripunskiy defeated all other challengers to finish with 8 out of 9 and the $100 second place prize. Newcomer Juan Tica got $37.50 for third place with 7 out of 9; he only lost to Roman and Alex. Gary took the $37.50 prize for top under 2200 with 4.5, while Dennis Li and Mark Kapengut each got $20 in a tie for top under 2000 with 4 points. Lastly, Luke Brennan, who was the only player rated under 1800, received that prize with a respectable 3-point effort in a very strong field.
In addition to the Open Section, we had two sections for our less experienced players. In the Under 1600 category, longtime ICA student Aaron Schefter took clear first place ahead of 21 competitors and won $150 with 6 points in 7 rounds. He was only defeated by Jane Stripunskiy (the daughter of GM Alex), who shared third place and the under 1400 prize with Felix Dyadyuk; both of them won $37.50 for their efforts. Meanwhile, Jody’s older brother Choco got second place with 5.5, and he earned $100. Calvin Du was best under 1200 with 4.5, while Jody Chen and Vanessa Romero tied for best under 1000 with 4 points. Finally, Benjy Koslowe also got 4 points to win the under 800 prize. All of these awards were worth $37.50.
For our newest blitz players, we had an Unrated Section with 19 participants. Daniel Chapnik was the best of them, picking up 6 out of 7 points and a $150 prize. Felix’s sister Ariella took second, winning $100 with 5.5, and Thomas Weichsel and Remy Choe both got 5 points and split the $37.50 prize for third. You can see full results for all of the sections here.
While we offered some very generous monetary awards for the best chess players, there was also something for those with the most holiday spirit. Everyone who wore a costume got a toy of some kind. Special recognition (and better prizes) were given for the top three costumes: Thomas, who dressed up as a rook, unsurprisingly took first with his chess-themed costume; Anton the elf got second; and AJ and his dinosaur costume got third in this special competition. 16 players wore costumes which you can see in the photo above.
Thanks to all our coaches, students, parents, and other friends for an excellent decade full of chess and friendship. We hope to see all of you as well as many fresh faces in 2020!